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Archive for the ‘Trust’ Category

Wow!  Another great devotional from Transformed by Rick Warren, especially the underlined parts, which remind me of the following verses. This reminds me that God is responsible for all the good in my family and our country. Happy Tuesday!

“‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ Acts‬ ‭17:28‬

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
‭‭Col‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭

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I have been struggling to remain close to God and to trust Him for a while now.  Things have been difficult lately, and I have not been handling it well.  It’s been hard for me to continue to trust God and believe that He is still working for my good when it doesn’t feel that way.

I have been stuck in a rut for a while now, and I’m tired of it.  Though many times before I’ve tried to get out, it only seems to be temporary.  Ultimately it has just felt too hard to trust God.  But I also realize that I’m making things much harder on myself by pushing away the one Person who could help me and comfort me.  I’ve been holding back with him, trying to protect my heart from the closeness and then loss of closeness that follows with the ups and downs.  But I realize I need to just go all out and seek to give all of myself to Him, trusting that He will work it all out.

 

And He gave me a verse for when I worry about not remaining close to him. It was the same as the very first verse He gave me when I was 18 and first saved.  I poured out all of my 18 year old problems to Him, and he spoke to me for the very first time with Matthew 6:33, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.”  To me that said don’t worry about how all of the problems would be solved but just seek Him.  That’s all that matters.  So I did!   And he gave me that verse again now 28 years later!  (Am I that old?…Nah.)   So its like, oh yeah, I guess that still applies! Lol.

So if I start complaining and worrying and distancing myself from God again, you can remind me of Matthew 6:33!  I’m sure I’ll be needing it!

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The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul…  Psa. 23:1

My husband was sick this past weekend, worn down by working so many hours, so we didn’t get to hike very far. My daughter was also sick on her birthday, which was Saturday, so my husband and I decided to just do a short hike at a nearby park. When we got there, we found out that this was the day for their outdoor festival. We just kind of ignored it and headed off for our usual hike in the woods around the outskirts of the park. By the time we made it all the way around and back to the open area in the center, we began to look at some of the booths.

There was one from the Meeman Shelby State Park where we usually do our long hikes displaying an owl and a long (creepy) snake that you could pick up! There was also a petting zoo from Hooker Farms with the most adorable little animals! We thought they was so cute and my daughter loves cute little animals so much that we drove home, got her, and brought her back, even though she was sick. It was her birthday, after all!

We saw bunnies that were so cute and soft. We got to each pick up one and snuggle it! Some of the animals had quite a personality. We met a pig who would come up to you and look straight up his snout at you! No doubt, looking for food! And then there was my favorite animal there, a cute little wooly sheep. He was all fluffy and chubby-looking.  He was very interested in you when you came around and seemed to be very sociable, like a dog.   He would look up at you with a smile on his face!  If you got close to him, he would come right up to you and curiously nose around. He was very responsive and seemed to have quite a personality. We just thought he was the star of the zoo, Mr. Personality! lol

Then I thought of how the Bible says we are the sheep and Jesus is our Shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd who leads us from one pasture to the next to find food and safety for us. He loves our quirky personality. He loves each sheep for its uniqueness, and He knows each one intimately. He cares for each sheep as if he or she were the only one.  And in the end, He leads us safely home. After meeting this sheep with attitude, I’ll never read the stories about Jesus and His sheep the same way again!

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.  Luke 15:3-7

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Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Rom. 8:1 NIV84)

When I was sick last week, God had me stop…and look at Him. Even when I wasn’t sure if I was doing something wrong – especially then.

It felt good to be open with Him, not trying to hide anything, and to find no condemnation but just acceptance, peace and rest.

I haven’t done that on a long while. Such intimacy. It requires boldness, bravery and risk! Because I’m not sure how He will react.

And the acceptance is that much sweeter in the face of risk and deserved condemnation. And then I am left with a sweet memory of my intimate time with Him.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV84)

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I Can Trust Him

It occurred to me the other day that I am so thankful that God knows me…all of me, inside and out.  And He accepts me completely.  I don’t have to be accepted or approved by God and someone else.  It is only His opinion that matters.  And He loves me.  I can be completely myself with Him.  I can trust Him.

And I also realized that I am thankful that He is a Just and Good Judge.  He knows all about me, my intentions, my mistakes, my heart.  There will be no unfairness or false accusations or misunderstandings.  With Him, there is only Truth and Justice and, thankfully, Love.  In addition, Jesus died for our sins so that we are forgiven and clothed with His robe of Righteousness.  I can trust Him.

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the great deep…How priceless is Your unfailing love!  Psa. 36:5-7

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So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak… Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”  But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”…Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”  So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”  Gen. 32:24-30

This has been a hard couple of months, a hard year, a hard couple of years!  We didn’t realize how blessed we were during the time that my husband ran his own business for 14 years.  We didn’t realize what a privilege it was to live on our own schedule, be our own boss, work out of our home, work together, for the family to be together much of the time.  I got to stay at home and raise my kids and worked when I felt like it.  We thought things were tight financially then, but we were actually doing pretty well.   We had no idea how easy things were then! 

Then my husband lost his business two years ago.  He had no idea what to do next.  There he was, a middle-aged man, having to start over again.  He decided to retrain for a job that he knew was always available, even in this tough economy:  truck driving.  He then got a job to drive over the road for the next year.  While we were thankful to have a job, the job itself was horrible.  The only time off was that which was required by law, 34 hours a week.  He drove an 18-wheeler all day and was also responsible for unloading the entire trailer by hand.  He was so exhausted.   He lost weight on what was already a lean frame to the point where he was unhealthy.  I was worried about him.   When he did finally make it home, he only had the energy to sleep, eat, and pack to leave again.  It was a really awful job!  However, while it didn’t pay what he made in his own business, it was the better paying job, although they expected you to work 70 hours a week for that pay and be away from home most of the time.  It just wasn’t worth it.

So a year ago, he quit that job to drive locally.  He delivered carbon dioxide to restaurants all day.  This job was better than the last one (which isn’t saying much!), but was still a pretty bad job.  My sweet husband survived that one for 10 months and could not take it any longer.  So he left that job in May.  This left us without the majority of our income.   We were scared to death!  How would we pay the bills?  Were we even following God’s will?  Would He really take care of us?

It was a pretty stressful time.  It seems we are learning over and over and over to trust God!  And we are learning that He can be trusted, both financially and spiritually.  There were times when I was so mad at Him, in such an irrational way.  I mean, of course, God is God!  He is always right and who can question what He allows?!  But that doesn’t change the fact that I was mad at how our lives had turned out!  One week, our church Bible study was about Jacob and how he wrestled with God all night.  The study suggested that we shouldn’t be afraid to wrestle with God.  So I took them up on that suggestion.  I wrestled with Him, over and over, every night, every day. 

And would you believe that He didn’t leave  me?!  He was and is still here.  He calmly listened to me.  He understood.  He cared for me.  He comforted me.  He held me.  And in the midst of that naked honesty with God, I found Him.  I found intimacy.  Just truth, transparency, my true self communing with Him.  No pretending.  No barriers.  It was a strange intimacy that I wouldn’t expect, but yet that is what I found.  He can handle  me when I can’t handle myself any more.  When I was at the end of my strength and ability to cope and even ability to trust Him, that is when He stepped in and carried me.  Now if that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is!  I stand in awe of what He can do.

I have also learned (re-learned) that after all my ranting and raving honesty, I eventually have to settle on choosing to believe that God is good and that He is working out good for us.  I have to state it to myself and to Him, even if I don’t feel it at the moment.  But when I choose to do that, somehow, God begins to comfort me and to change my heart, so it becomes a little bit of my own truth.

In addition to the spiritual care we received, God provided financially.  So many people blessed us with unexpected gifts or a larger than normal birthday presents of cash.  It was both of our birthdays in July and there was no way we could afford to go out to eat.  But God arranged for the kids to be on a trip with my parents and then provided coupons for free birthday dinners at restaurants.  One of the wonderful places we visited was Spaghetti Warehouse.  They were so kind to us!  God also provided odd jobs here and there, house sitting, lawn mowing.  Somehow we have made it this far, even with minimal income for several weeks and we have not yet been unable to pay our bills or lost our house.  Actually, since Dave lost his business two years ago, money has been tight.  But  God has provided for us the entire time through everything. 

My husband has started a new job this week for less income that he has made at any of these other jobs.  But we believe that God has led us here.  It’s still scary.  But if He can provide for us through all of this, even when we had hardly any income, then He can certainly provide when we have some income.   We will continue to learn to trust Him, although I have no doubt that I will be doing some more wrestling in my future!  And He will listen and care for us and carry us through.

Thank You God, for taking care of us.  Even when I feel I have nothing left, You are still there.  It blows my mind away!  You still love me and carry me through all of this.  Help us to trust You as things are still uncertain.  Lead us and show us what to do.  I can’t tell You how much it means to me that You have gotten us through thus far and how You have cared for me, so gently and tenderly.  We love You.

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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Rom. 15:13

I had a nice time with God this afternoon, as I have been lately amidst all the confusion and frustration of having a sick child and financial struggles.  I realized this afternoon that I love God, but I am having trouble trusting Him.  I love Him so much.  He is such a comfort in all of this.  His arms are always there for me – His presence always waiting to comfort me.

But I also realize that I am not trusting Him as I should.  I can’t seem to translate my love for Him and enjoyment of Him internally to peace in dealing with the troubles I experience externally – the bills, the medical problems.  I seem to have a disconnect.  Why doesn’t His greatly comforting presence  and Love, so real to me when alone with Him, translate to power, confidence and trust in dealing with my exterior life? 

What peace and confidence could be mine if I truly believed that He is in control and working all this out for our good, if I could believe that the same Love that comforts me so internally can be very real and powerful in my life externally as well.  Help me to believe this Father.  Thank you immensely for how you comfort and care for me during our times alone together.  It is what keeps me going.  Help me to see that same Love as I deal with life after that.  Help me to trust You.

“I am taking care of you.  Trust Me at all times.  Trust Me in all circumstances.  Trust Me with all your heart.  When you are weary and everything seems to be going wrong, you can still utter these four words: ‘I trust You, Jesus.’  By doing so, you release matters into My control, and you fall back into the security of My everlasting arms…”  (from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, 3/30)

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